Welcome to the NFL offseason. The Los Angeles Rams are Tremendous Bowl LVI champs, and we’re already waiting for the favorites for subsequent yr’s title recreation. Caesars Sportsbook says it is the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (13-2 odds), adopted by the Buffalo Payments (7-1) and Rams (10-1). Which groups do our consultants suppose will play in Tremendous Bowl LVII? You will must scroll all the way down to see their picks.
We additionally requested our panel of 12 ESPN NFL insiders to make their picks for 2022 MVP (trace: It is an all-quarterback race), together with probably the most attention-grabbing crew of the offseason. We’re only some weeks away from the beginning of 2022 free company, and the spring might be crammed with a number of beginning quarterbacks altering groups, very similar to we noticed in 2021, when Matthew Stafford was traded to the Metropolis of Angels and instantly earned his wings (and a hoop).
Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson and Jimmy Garoppolo are among the many high-profile signal-callers who might change groups, however there might be extra motion earlier than April’s draft.
Let’s get into the three questions for our panel, beginning with their early Tremendous Bowl picks:
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Early Tremendous Bowl picks | Early MVP picks
Most attention-grabbing groups of the offseason
What’s your early Tremendous Bowl LVII decide?
Stephania Bell, fantasy soccer analyst: 49ers over Payments. Twice the bridesmaids within the postseason throughout the Kyle Shanahan period, the 49ers have the expertise to win all of it if their inheritor to the quarterback throne, Trey Lance, continues to develop. Josh Allen and the Payments have been a possession away from the Tremendous Bowl, and they are going to be again — however in the long run the Niners’ protection (with some incoming enhancements within the secondary) helps tip the size of their favor.
Matt Bowen, NFL analyst: Payments over 49ers. The Payments will undergo some modifications with Ken Dorsey as the brand new offensive coordinator, however I nonetheless anticipate a quarterback-centric system designed round Josh Allen’s high-end bodily skills. And with a protection that may restrict explosive performs, this crew has the make-up of a championship squad.
Mike Clay, fantasy soccer author: Packers over Payments. Aaron Rodgers will return for yet one more run and, after profitable 13 regular-season video games however failing to succeed in the Tremendous Bowl in three straight seasons, the Packers lastly get excessive. Naturally, Rodgers will retire after profitable Tremendous Bowl MVP.
Tristan H. Cockcroft, fantasy soccer author: Payments over Cowboys. What?! The Cowboys within the Tremendous Bowl?! Contemplate it extra the product of a wide-open NFC in my estimation — although an Aaron Rodgers-led Packers crew would stay robust to wager in opposition to — nevertheless it’s the Payments who stand out as one of many recreation’s most balanced general groups, with a quarterback in Josh Allen who’s an absolute celebrity.
Dan Graziano, nationwide NFL author: Chiefs over Rams. The AFC is hard to choose as a result of there are such a lot of good groups. The NFC is hard to choose as a result of there seem like so few. With out realizing who’s going to be the quarterback in locations comparable to Inexperienced Bay, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and so forth., it is means too early to evaluate who the true contenders will likely be. However as of now I will wager on Patrick Mahomes & Co. bouncing again, as a result of that appears like as protected a February wager as any.
Eric Moody, fantasy soccer author: Payments over 49ers. Josh Allen is likely one of the league’s high dual-threat quarterbacks, Stefon Diggs is an elite extensive receiver, Gabriel Davis is an up-and-comer on the precipice of a breakout season and cornerback Tre’Davious White will likely be again following an ACL tear. After dropping consecutive playoff video games to the Chiefs, the Payments will likely be extremely motivated to atone for his or her errors.
Jason Reid, senior NFL author, The Undefeated: Chiefs over Cowboys. After stewing all offseason concerning the Chiefs’ beautiful second-half collapse within the AFC Championship Sport, Patrick Mahomes will return higher than ever. Identical to they rebuilt their offensive line final offseason, the Chiefs will transfer so as to add pass-rushers this spring. Large receiver Mecole Hardman will lastly take a giant step ahead to assist future Corridor of Famers Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. For Dallas, Dak Prescott will lead a dominating offense. On protection, linebacker Micah Parsons will likely be second to none within the recreation whereas taking cost of a top-five unit.
Jordan Reid, NFL draft analyst: Chiefs over Rams. With a foul style of their mouths following a second-half collapse within the AFC Championship Sport loss to the Bengals, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will return on a rampage. And the Rams will make a return to the Tremendous Bowl by working it again for an additional season with many of the similar gamers.
Kevin Seifert, nationwide NFL author: Payments over Packers. The Payments have been so shut the previous two years, and ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index ranked them as the most effective crew of 2021 (whatever the consequence of the playoffs). And at this second, there are many causes to suppose Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and the remainder of the Packers’ elite gamers are headed again to Inexperienced Bay for yet one more run at a championship.
Mike Tannenbaum, NFL front-office insider: Chiefs over Cowboys. Patrick Mahomes stays the most effective participant on the planet. The Cowboys will lastly recover from the hump by correcting their greatest drawback — self-discipline — and dramatically minimize down on penalties (they led the league in 2-21). Continuity will serve Dak Prescott nicely, and the Cowboys will likely be within the high 5 within the league in offense and protection.
Seth Walder, sports activities analytics author: Chargers over Packers. That the Chargers missed the postseason hid the truth that Justin Herbert produced a powerful season. A little bit constructive regression on protection, and so they might rapidly turn out to be harmful.
Area Yates, NFL analyst: Payments over Packers. If Aaron Rodgers shouldn’t be with the Packers subsequent season, the sport modifications, however with Rodgers beneath contract in Inexperienced Bay, I feel the Packers discover a approach to do sufficient to maintain the roster intact to a degree that one other profitable season is on faucet — this time with a visit to the Tremendous Bowl, the place they arrive up simply brief in opposition to the high-powered, Josh Allen-led Payments.
Who’s your decide to be subsequent season’s MVP?
Bell: Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals. Name it recency bias if you would like, however there isn’t a denying the success of the Bengals’ 2021 season hinged on Burrow’s management and can to win as a lot as his play. Get the person some safety and after an offseason that will not be targeted on recovering from ACL reconstruction, we might see a good higher yr from him.
Bowen: Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers. He had 38 landing throws final season with greater than 5,000 yards. An ascending pocket thrower with simple motion skill and upper-tier arm expertise, Herbert could have the numbers — and the big-game moments — to win the MVP subsequent season.
Clay: Josh Allen, QB, Payments. Allen has been high six in Complete QBR every of the previous two seasons whereas usually carrying the complete Buffalo offense with each his arm and legs. The Payments are constructed for an additional title run, and that may place him for robust MVP consideration.
Cockcroft: Josh Allen, QB, Payments. I hate that the MVP award is boiling down to close certainty of going to a quarterback as of late, to not point out usually these on high-seeded contenders, however this will likely be one of the deserving awards amongst those that match these standards. The Payments ought to be super as a crew, and Allen is already proper there within the dialog for greatest participant within the league. A 13-4 season (or a season in that vary) will give him excellent odds of an MVP win.
Graziano: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Broncos. That is proper — I went there. I do not know. Successful three MVPs in a row is hard, however primarily due to voter fatigue. My prediction is that Rodgers will likely be in a brand new place, enjoying in addition to ever with Nathaniel Hackett as his coach … and that appears like a narrative voters might get behind, no?
Moody: Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals. Following a torn ACL and MCL throughout his rookie season in 2020, Burrow had a shocking 2021 season. In 2022, he ought to attain profession highs with a younger group of offensive playmakers, one other offseason to hone his craft as an expert quarterback and contemporary motivation after a heartbreaking Tremendous Bowl loss.
Jason Reid: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs. Sure, Mahomes struggled early final season. Sure, he performed poorly within the second half of the AFC title recreation. However he’s additionally able to overcoming seemingly insurmountable conditions with little time remaining on the sport clock. Simply ask the Payments.
Jordan Reid: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs. With minimal transferring components exiting the constructing, Mahomes will not be glad with how final season ended. That can stay on his thoughts the complete 2022 season as he goes on to win his second MVP award.
Seifert: Josh Allen, QB, Payments. There’s purpose to fret about Allen’s long-term trajectory, given the punishment that comes alongside together with his bodily enjoying type. However he completed the 2021 playoffs enjoying on the highest stage of his profession. That ought to carry into the close to future, particularly the 2022 season.
Tannenbaum: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs. He is the most effective participant within the recreation and continues to be younger and ascending. The runner-up very nicely might be Justin Herbert.
Walder: Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers. I am unsure Herbert obtained the credit score he actually deserved final season, when he ranked third in QBR and second in complete EPA — forward of Aaron Rodgers. With Tom Brady retiring, age an element for Rodgers and certain regression from Buffalo’s protection, Herbert and Patrick Mahomes must be the favorites coming into the season.
Yates: Josh Allen, QB, Payments. Allen completed 2021 on a tear and is firmly entrenched within the dialog for greatest participant in all of soccer. Buffalo had a stretch of inconsistent play throughout this previous common season that saved him out of the MVP dialog, however I think he will likely be an annual contender going ahead.
Which is probably the most attention-grabbing crew of the offseason?
Bell: Packers. The standing of Aaron Rodgers is unknown at this level, which already makes them probably the most attention-grabbing. If he goes, it not solely impacts how the Packers look subsequent season (what does free agent Davante Adams do?), however there may be additionally a ripple impact. Clearly wherever Rodgers lands makes that crew one to look at, however how different groups subsequently pursue expertise acquisition and trades makes them extra intriguing, too.
Bowen: Packers. Aaron Rodgers might be transferring on. And Davante Adams, the league’s greatest extensive receiver, is a free agent. Matt LaFleur’s membership may need a a lot completely different look subsequent season if Rodgers and Adams are enjoying elsewhere.
Tim Hasselbeck considers Aaron Rodgers too helpful for the Packers to commerce away.
Clay: Buccaneers. The Bucs have been a powerhouse since Tom Brady’s arrival, however the GOAT’s retirement coupled with a CVS-receipt-length checklist of free brokers has severely clouded this crew’s outlook. Discovering a approach to retain no less than a number of free brokers (Chris Godwin, Ryan Jensen, Carlton Davis, Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Whitehead, Ndamukong Suh, and so forth.) might maintain them in wild-card competition, however that may not matter a lot if they do not discover their approach to a standout quarterback — a tricky job contemplating the present accessible choices.
Cockcroft: Broncos. They’ve each the cap area and draft capital (5 picks within the first three rounds) to mount a severe commerce pursuit of Aaron Rodgers, in addition to a brand new coach in Nathaniel Hackett who was Rodgers’ offensive coordinator the previous two seasons. How this crew crafts itself coming into 2022 is a key story to look at unfold.
Graziano: Eagles. They’ve three first-round draft picks, and regardless of what was mentioned in a postseason information convention, will we actually understand how assured they’re in Jalen Hurts as their long-term QB reply? These three first-rounders imply the Eagles have to no less than discover the potential of buying and selling for a veteran. And if not, and so they resolve to construct round Hurts, it’s going to be fascinating to look at what meaning by way of how they allocate their offseason sources.
Moody: Broncos. Contemplating the crew is out there for a franchise quarterback, and after what the Rams have been in a position to accomplish with Matthew Stafford this season and the Buccaneers with Tom Brady the yr prior, the thought of Aaron Rodgers transferring to Denver is intriguing. The addition of Rodgers would make the Broncos speedy Tremendous Bowl contenders as a result of they have already got offensive playmakers, comparable to Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Javonte Williams.
Jason Reid: Packers. It will be enjoyable watching all the twists and turns because the Packers try to please Aaron Rodgers and retain celebrity extensive receiver Davante Adams, who’s a free agent. Properly, enjoyable for everybody besides the Packers.
Jordan Reid: Packers. With commerce rumors of Aaron Rodgers swirling and Davante Adams set to turn out to be an unrestricted free agent, they’re set for an eventful offseason. Does Adams get a brand new deal or the franchise tag, or is he elsewhere?
Seifert: 49ers. Prior to now three seasons, the 49ers have performed in two NFC Championship Video games and one Tremendous Bowl. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo helped them get there in each instances. He additionally performed a giant function in them falling in need of a championship. If stories about their intent to maneuver on from Garoppolo are correct, it will likely be fascinating to see how they construct round presumed substitute Trey Lance — and if they’re any higher with him in 2022.
Tannenbaum: Broncos. I imagine they may commerce for Aaron Rodgers. They might turn out to be the Packers West in a short time — and so they simply employed Nathaniel Hackett from Inexperienced Bay as head coach.
Walder: Vikings. The brand new regime has to make a vital choice on Kirk Cousins that’s going to set the observe for the franchise for years to come back. Do they transfer on from Cousins, hoping to seize worth for him within the commerce market, and begin over at quarterback? Or recommit to him, prolong his contract to decrease his speedy cap hit and hope to win within the brief time period? It is a tough spot with big penalties.
Yates: Steelers. For the primary time in almost 20 years, the Steelers will want a brand new beginning quarterback. In what looks as if an offseason that would embody some notable veteran trades, does Pittsburgh method the place that means or work to draft its successor to Ben Roethlisberger?